As Jews, we remember the story of our escape from Egyptian bondage, and are now committed to helping combat slavery in all forms. And, since Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery, we must try to eradicate it.
Human Trafficking is an abhorrent human rights violation, a profitable criminal activity and a form of exploitation. As of 2014, 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys were victims of forced labor. Of those, 4.5 million people were sexually exploited.
Causes of human trafficking include poverty (some being sold by fathers, husbands and other family members in need of money, others .lured by promises of jobs such as dancers) and lack of education. Approximately two million women and girls are being trafficked and reduced to chattel yearly. Fourteen is the average age at which the process begins. Some go willingly. These women are forced into a life of slavery and torture in a sex industry often related to organized crime.
In past years, women from the former Soviet Union and West European countries were recruited through seemingly legitimate businesses with advertising, visas, international travel and co-conspirators in the regional and foreign governments playing upon their desires to find work, travel abroad and help their families. Once recruited, they were often moved over the border, their passports confiscated and were forced into sexual slavery.
(Source: ILO report and Polaris)
Recently women in the manicure industry and massage parlors and men in agriculture, gardening and house painting have come from South American and Asian countries.
Within the United States, children have been abducted on their way home from school and some have gone with those appearing to befriend them in shopping malls, some runaway children have been picked up by traffickers.
There are surges of demand for prostitutes in the United States around major sporting events such as the Super Bowl. The victims, some as young as 10, when arrested, are often charged with prostitution. The prosecutors and judges must be educated to their plight as victims. When the youngsters are reunited with their families, they have to undergo physical and mental rehabilitation before they can go on with their lives.
The travel industry is educating its workers to identify possible victims and to alert law enforcement to check out suspicious persons:
“Sex trafficking occurs when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person performing the act is under the age of 18. Sex trafficking occurs in a number of venues, including the Internet, street prostitution, illicit massage parlors, containers, and other sexually oriented businesses.
Labor trafficking occurs when individuals (men, women and children) are forced or coerced into working against their will. Human trafficking is the second most prevalent organized crime activity in the world, just after drugs and illegal arms trafficking.”
(Source: Houston Area Council on Human Trafficking)
Whereas Women’s League for Conservative Judaism believes that we must eradicate sexual violence from our culture; and
Whereas every person deserves respect, and has the right to make decisions about their life and his or her own body;
Whereas victims of trafficking are not criminals;
Therefore, be it resolved that Women’s League for Conservative Judaism encourage:
And Women’s League further resolves to: